Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starship Troopers

So I'm on to my second downloaded audiobook.  Figured I would try something I hadn't read yet, so I downloaded Starship Troopers.  Old sci fi is kind of funny some times.  For instance, the attitudes towards women in the book.  Granted Heinlein I understand is, shall we say somewhat interesting on this issue in general.  But just a sampler of the confusing cross messages we get:

Women in general or specific women in the story are:
  • Better at reflexes
  • Welcome as soldiers (as contrasted to men who are seen to be in too ready supply for the military)
  • Better than the main male character at math and physics
  • Capable of saving the lives of the male soldiers by performing amazing mathematically intensive pilot stunts which is a normal part of their job description.
  • Too ornamental to be thought of as good at anything practical
  • Things instead of people: "She was one of the good things about belonging to a species with two sexes"
  • Incapable of flying a spaceship without leaving you covered in bruises

Part of this seems to be our main character not wanting to admit that anyone is as important as he is, but when it comes down to it I think it simply what you get reading stuff that was published in 1959.  A lot of things were in flux back then and so when you choose authors from those time period you get opinions that seem out of sync or incongruous compared to the modern incongruous heap of opinions we call home.  Its still enjoyable fiction, though I'd say its far from being my favorite stuff ever.  I think my favorite by Heinlein so far is still Universe.

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